Premier League Review – Matchday 27
Saturday 22nd February, 2020
Chelsea 2 Spurs 1
Frank Lampard took great delight in this win and his team are the first to beat a side managed by Jose Mourinho twice in a league season. Despite Chelsea’s great Premier league record against us, this was the first time since 2002 that they had won three consecutive home games against Spurs.
Substitute Erik Lamela won your vote for the Spurs Odyssey man of the match. Hugo L.loris was a very close second
Burnley 3 Bournemouth 0
There was more VAR controversy in this game and Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth were very unfortunate victims. We can safely say we will be travelling to Burnley next season as they have won four of their last five league games and drawn the other. It is far less certain whether we will visit Bournemouth who have lost no less than 12 of their last 16 league games. Vydra made his first league start for Burnley since November 2018.
Pope made a very good early save from Callum Wilson after an improvised pass by his namesake Harry. At the other end Ramsdale was sharp to deny Vydra. The first controversy here came after Josh King thought he had given Bournemouth the lead after a 21st minute corner. The ball had reached King after going off Billing’s shoulder, so VAR disallowed the goal. Once again Mike Dean was the man in the middle having to try to answer the on-field grievances without having seen the incident. Pope made a reaction save from Harry Wilson midway through the first half.
Vydra gave the home side the lead in the 53rd minute after a run down the left channel; a turn inside Simon Francis and a right foot shot inside Ramsdale’s right post. Vydra’s last goal at Turf Moor had been against Bournemouth in 2018. There was a big shout by the home crowd for handball after Mc Neil crossed from the left and Adam Smith kept the ball in play, but the referee waved play-on and Bournemouth went up the other end. Callum Wilson teed up Harry who put his shot beneath Pope, but then VAR called play back to the Smith incident and awarded Burnley a penalty. Again, the ball seemed to come off the shoulder of the player. Rodriguez scored from the spot in the 61st minute, so it was 2-0 and not 1-1.
McNeil hit a lovely ball deep from the left for Rodriguez to run onto and shoot. Ramsdale saved and raced to retrieve the ball before it could be reached by Vydra. Vydra missed from quite close in at the back post, and McNeil hit the inside of the keeper’s right post. However, the Burnley number 11 did score with a left foot shot into the net on the other side of goal in the 87th minute. There was no way back for the team (and its fans) who faced a long journey back to the South coast.
Crystal Palace 1 Newcastle 0
This was Palace’s first win in 8 league games, and it lifted them above Newcastle. Danny Rose started but did not finish the game. Dubravka made a brilliant right-handed save from Cahill’s header after a Palace corner. The Newcastle keeper made a similar save from another corner. This time Dann had headed the ball goalward. Only 16 minutes had been played. Guaita pushed over Joelinton’s 22-yard shot at the other end. Palace had a free kick 25 yards out from Van Aanholt scored a brilliant goal with his left foot. Dubravka was well beaten this time. (44 mins)
Three minutes into the second half Van Aanholt was the provider for Jordan Ayew (once a Villa Player of course) whose shot hit the outside of the post. Guaita saved a long distance shot by Schar after a dangerous ball by Rose into the 6-yard box had been half-cleared by the Palace defence. Dubravka saved from Ayew at his left post after Zaha’s low cross from the left of the area. Newcastle new boy Lazaro “took one for the team” when he accepted a straight red card for hauling down Zaha who had a goal-scoring opportunity. The score remained 1-0 but Newcastle will play without the Inter loanee next week.
Sheffield United 1 Brighton 1
If Sheffield United are still in the running for a Champions League place, then so must be Spurs. The “Blades” were held back today by a determined Brighton performance. Perhaps the correct target is a place in the Europa League. Stevens gave United a 26th minute lead following a corner taken on the right. The ball ended up at Stevens’ feet inside the right corner of the Brighton area and he scored with an arrow of a shot. Brighton were level within four minutes after a free kick from the deep was headed back into the danger zone where Maupay scored at close range.
Ryan did well to save a close-range effort by McBurnie following a second half United corner, and Fleck hit a low shot just wide of Ryan’s left post. Ryan saved again from a McBurnie effort in the latter stages of the game, and the score remained 1-1.
Southampton 2 Aston Villa 0
Southampton made a welcome return to winning ways for the first time in a month, whilst it is that long since Villa last won a league game, so they remain at risk of relegation. Hasenhuttl reverted to using James Ward-Prowse at right back replacing the injured Spurs loanee Kyle Walker-Peters. 20-year-old Will Smallbone made his first league start in midfield. Smallbone hit the post with an early deflected shot with Reina beaten. Shane Long gave the home side an 8th minute lead with a close-range finish after a brilliant cross by Djenepo hit from the left bye-line but with the outside of his right foot. Reina saved from Ings but Djenepo scooped a shot high above the goal after some follow-up play in and around the Villa area. Reina had to save well from Djenepo after the Villa keeper made a hash of a clearance half an hour into the game.
Reina was booked in the second half for a foul on Long well outside his area to the left of his goal. It took Southampton until the end of added time to make it 2-0. The goal came after a Villa corner for which Reina had gone forward. Reina was well behind play as Armstrong received the ball on the right and passed it into the net.
Leicester 0 Manchester City 1
It is a month now since Leicester won a Premier League game, and whilst they are still very well placed for next season’s Champions League, they have probably lost the race for second place with this defeat. VAR was David Coote, who had been covering Spurs’ game at Chelsea and he was in the news again here. Vardy hit the post with an early chance and now hasn’t scored in 9 games in all competitions. Maddison had a free kick blocked by the wall in which De Bruyne put both his hands up no doubt to protect himself, but penalties have been given for less. Another Maddison free kick was well saved by Ederson who dived to his right.
After another Maddison free kick was floated into the box, Ederson took out Iheanacho, but all Leicester got was a corner. In the second half after a corner on the right Gundogan’s shot was deflected out of play by Praet’s arm. VAR awarded City a penalty. The incident was similar to the penalty given to City in last year’s Champions League game against Danny Rose. Lloris saved that spot kick by Aguero, and the City scoring ace hit this one too straight allowing Schmeichel to save to his right. Aguero was subsequently replaced by Gabriel Jesus, who did score the decisive goal in the 81st minute after a short pass from former Leicester player Riyad Mahrez.
Sunday 23rd February, 2020
The race for a place in Europe next season is getting hotter with all three of today’s home teams winning. There are some crucial head to head meetings in the remainder of the season too, so the tension will not get any lighter.
Manchester United 3 Watford 0
United fans are crowing over Bruno Fernandes, who scored a penalty in this game and has been a very positive influence on the side since his arrival. Some Spurs fans said at the time of the signing that we got the wrong Fernandes. We shall see.
Silent tribute was paid to former United goalkeeper and hero of Munich Harry Gregg who recently died, aged 87. Bobby Charlton, one of those saved by Gregg’s actions, was in the director’s box.
Troy Deeney took too long over an early chance allowing Shaw to clear inside his area. Watford had another good opportunity in front of the Stretford End when Deulofeu passed inside but Doucoure overran the ball before hitting a shot into the side netting. Former Watford man Ighalo was on the United bench. United had not been at all convincing and de Gea had to make a good save diving to his right to push Doucoure’s shot around the corner. At last United made some progress. Fred hit a shot over after a move instigated by Fernandes, who subsequently advanced into the area himself tempting the foul from Ben Foster. Fernandes scored from the spot in the 42nd minute with a pause in his final step before the shot.
Watford had the ball in the net through Deeney following a corner after 51 minutes, but VAR decreed that Craig Dawson hand handled the ball in the build-up. Fernandes passed to Martial inside the left of the area and after his first shot was saved, Martial scored after a nice piece of skill in the 58th minute. Greenwood had had one shot saved by Foster but in another move he scored with a great left foot shot after Fernandes passed inside from the right. (75mins)
Watford battled on and Deulofeu had a shot hit the top of the United bar. Ighalo did get on, but he couldn’t score although he did have a shot from a sharp angle on the left which was put out of play by Masina.
Wolves 3 Norwich 0
Wolves fans have had an excellent week. On Thursday night they saw their team win a first leg Round of 32 game against Espanyol 4-0 with Jota scoring a hat-trick. Today Jota scored two first half goals to help his side make it 7-0 on aggregate in two games, scoring five of those himself. Norwich are now seven points (8 when you consider goal difference) away from safety and it does look like a swift return to the Championship for this side.
Norwich provided a couple of awkward moments early on for the Wolves defence, but Rui Patricio picked up when Pukki was close to goal and he then saved a 20 yarder by Mclean. Jota’s first goal came in the 19th minute after a cross from the right and a touch in the middle by Matt Doherty which was reviewed for a possible handball. However, the ball had missed Doherty’s arms and Wolves could celebrate. The second goal came on the half hour. It followed Jonny’s cross from the left, Dendoncker’s header to the back of the area and a low ball returned inside by Saiss. Norwich were hoping for VAR to discover an offside offence, but there had been no infringement.
Jota was fouled just outside the area on the brink of half time (he made about 8 rolls to make sure!) and Neves’ free kick was just about touched onto his bar by Krul.
Jota hit the post with a 50th minute shot and the ball basically rebounded into the Norwich net off the advancing Raul Jimenez. Aarons advanced into the Wolves area, taking a nice short pass from Cantwell, but Rui Patricio was equal to the shot from the right back. With a minute to play Jonny crossed deep from the left and the ball was met by Doherty at the back post, bringing a good low save from Krul.
Arsenal 3 Everton 2
This was the first time Arsenal won two consecutive league games since the start of the season, and they have yet to lose a game in any competition so far this calendar year. Mikel Arteta seems to have them ticking again. Here he was up against the only other club he played for in the Premier league. Everton took the lead in the first minute after a free kick was floated in and headed on before Calvert-Lewin scored with a high boot. (David Luiz and his team-mates didn’t like that, but the goal stood) As is often the case at The Emirates a fair number of the reported 60,296 attendees must have been hiding under their seats, because I couldn’t see them!
Kolasinac suffered an arm injury and had to be replaced after 18 minutes by 18-year-old Bukayo Saka. “Xhaka to Saka” was a regular feature in the commentary and Nketiah equalised in the 27th minute following one of those passing combinations. Aubameyang made it 2-1 6 minutes later, collecting a good pass by David Luiz before taking the shot on and beating Pickford to his left from 15 yards. Everton got an equaliser in the fourth minute of first half added time. The goal followed a corner taken on the right by Leighton Baines, leading to something of a scramble which culminated in Richarlison scoring from very close range.
Arsenal were in the lead again only 26 seconds into the second half when Pepe crossed from the right and Aubameyang scored again, this time with a well-placed header inside Pickford’s left post. Ancelotti was not impressed but much of the half saw Everton on top with Arsenal preserving their slender lead thanks to several good saves by Leno. The first of these came after an Arsenal throw deep in their half which ended with a low shot by Calvert-Lewin. Next, after Saka lost the ball near his halfway line, Bernard crossed from the right, Richarlison headed down and Calvert-Lewin failed to score from close range. Xhaka had lingered too long too close to his bye-line out on the left playing on the Everton number 9.
With 10 minutes to go, Richarlison crossed from the left but Calvert-Lewin’s touch was too faint, and the ball crossed the goalmouth. Pickford got away with a poor ball out under pressure and Nketiah’s shot rebounded off the bar. Everton’s Andre Gomes made his first appearance after that horrific injury against Spurs. He came on for the last half hour and it was his ball for Richarlison that Leno chased well outside his area and cleared. Everton had a corner deep into added time and Calvert-Lewin headed wide of the far post. The “Toffees” should have got something out of this game.
Monday 24th February, 2020
Liverpool 3 West Ham 2
Liverpool were missing their injured captain Jordan Henderson. West Ham’s right back Ryan Fredericks was also injured so 19-year-old Jeremy Ngakia was given a second Premier League game. His first had been the home game against Liverpool last month.
It didn't take long for Liverpool to take the lead against the "Hammers". In the ninth minute Alexander-Arnold crossed from near the corner flag and Wijnaldum scored with a header which Fabianski should have stopped. West Ham surprised the hosts with a 12th minute equaliser by Diop who headed in Snodgrass's corner at The Kop End.
Fabianski saved well from Salah after 15 minutes, and then punched out Alexander-Arnold's corner. Gomez made a mistake just inside his own half after 22 minutes allowing Antonio a run towards goal, but Alisson was first to the ball at the edge of his area.
After half an hour West Ham had a throw in their own half but they lost possession and Firmino fed the ball to his right for the advance of Alexander-Arnold whose 20-yard shot passed wide. Liverpool had a free kick after 38 minutes following a foul by Ngakia on Mane. Alexander-Arnold took the kick, which was deflected wide for a corner, from which Van Dijk headed onto the top of the bar.
David Moyes had replaced the injured Soucek with Fornals very early in the second half and it was Fornals who turned in Rice's cross in front of the ecstatic travelling fans in the 54th minute. Jurgen Klopp immediately put Oxlade-Chamberlain in for Keita. Ngakia did well against Mane at the expense of a corner and Fabianski saved Alexander-Arnold's shot from outside the area. Liverpool were putting the "Hammers" under pressure.
Fabianski boobed again in the 68th minute when Robertson crossed, and Salah's shot slipped through goalkeeper's hands to make it 2-2. After more pressure and a corner by Alexander-Arnold, Robertson returned the ball across the area from where Salah's effort was well saved by Fabianski, but not cleanly and Firmino could not quite get the right direction on his header next to the post.
Normality was resumed in the 81st minute when Gomez's deflected shot fell to Alexander-Arnold who crossed to give Mane an easy finish in front of goal. Mane thought he had scored again three minutes later and again his provider was the right back, but this one was marked off for offside.
Substitute Bowen had a good chance after a good ball from the left by Antonio, but Alisson closed him down, conceding a corner. Mark Noble had a shot deflected for a corner at the very end of the five minutes of added time, but that corner was cleared, and referee Jon Moss blew for full time. Liverpool's undefeated record was maintained, and West Ham remain in the bottom three.
Fixtures & Results 22-24.02.20
Chelsea 2-1 Spurs
Burnley 3-0 B'mouth
C. Palace 1-0 Newcastle
Sheff Utd 1-1 Brighton
S'hampton 2-0 A. Villa
Leicester 0-1 Man City
Man Utd 3-0 Watford
Wolves 3-0 Norwich
Arsenal 3-2 Everton
Liverpool 3-2 West Ham
Premier League Table
P W D L F-A GD Pts
1. Liverpool 27 26 1 0 64-17 47 79
2. Man City 27 18 3 6 68-29 39 57
3. Leicester 27 15 5 7 54-27 27 50
4. Chelsea 27 13 5 9 45-37 8 44
5. Man Utd 27 11 8 8 41-29 12 41
6. Spurs 27 11 7 9 44-36 8 40
7. Sheff Utd 27 10 10 7 29-25 4 40
8. Wolves 27 9 12 6 38-32 6 39
9. Arsenal 27 8 13 6 39-36 3 37
10. Burnley 27 11 4 12 33-39 -6 37
11. Everton 27 10 6 11 36-41 -5 36
12. S'hampton 27 10 4 13 34-48 -14 34
13. C. Palace 27 8 9 10 24-32 -8 33
14. Newcastle 27 8 7 12 24-41 -17 31
15. Brighton 27 6 10 11 32-39 -7 28
16. B'mouth 27 7 5 15 26-43 -17 26
17. A. Villa 27 7 4 16 34-52 -18 25
18. West Ham 27 6 6 15 32-48 -16 24
19. Watford 27 5 9 13 24-43 -19 24
20. Norwich 27 4 6 17 24-51 -27 18